Managing social media for a business is a daunting task. Most businesses are so busy managing their business that they just don’t bother.
As a digital marketing agency, we at Peak Inbound Marketing offer social media management as a service to our clients. So we have a decent amount of experience managing multiple social media platforms for multiple clients and ourselves.
For our own social media management we use HubSpot because we’re using the entire HubSpot suite and everything is very nicely integrated. We do however have clients who do not use HubSpot and for them we use Sprout Social.
Probably the two most popular social management platforms out there are Hootsuite (www.hootsuite.com) and Sprout Social (www.sproutsocial.com). Both platforms are great choices. They both allow you to do the things you need to do when you’re managing multiple social streams. If you ask most people who have tried both platforms you’ll find that most say the two are very close in functionality. And we agree.
But I am going to focus on Sprout for this article and show you how it can make managing your business’ many social streams a manageable task.
When you go to your Sprout Social account the first thing you see is this super informative dashboard. You’ll get some high level statistics that can be show for the past week or the past month.
Right away you get a nice snapshot of your social accounts. You see the number of interactions, unique users and impressions. Plus you see your response rate with the average response time. This lets you know how you’re doing in terms of following up with people who’ve asked you a question. Sprout actually looks for words like who, what, when, where, why, and other “question” indicators to identify which messages appear to warrant a response. So you can see how your team is doing in terms of follow-ups on their social questions.
You also get some top-level demographics about your audience on this page, including age and gender, as well as a snapshot of new followers and engagement for the various platforms.
Of course there is a much more detailed report section, which I really love and we’ll go through that section a little later.
When you click the Compose button in the upper right you get this super easy to use post-writing interface. You can post to all of your accounts at once or post different content to each platform.
That camera button in the lower left lets you attach an image to your post so that you force the platforms to display a nice big picture in the news feeds.
You also get the ability to schedule out your posts very quickly and easily. When you do schedule a post, you’ll also see what other posts are scheduled for that day.
I love this feature because we like to schedule all of our blog posts at once for the week and also schedule the corresponding social posts to go live just after the blog posts. Being able to see what is already scheduled right in the composition tool keeps us from double posting to one platform or missing one completely.
You can also use the Sprout Queue to let Sprout determine the best time to deploy your posts based on your followers patterns of usage and interaction, pretty nifty.
If you have multiple people working on your social media accounts, you’ll appreciate the team features that are built into Sprout Social.
You can easily and quickly assign tasks to team members and even define them as sales leads, support issues or just general tasks. And you can add internal comments that only your team will see.
Sprout also as collision detection so that you can avoid responding to a message or task that another team member is actively responding to.
Sprout also has detailed team reports so you can see who is most active and how they are active. You can even see non-sprout usage to identify people posting without using the tool.
Sprout Social’s Smart Inbox makes it very easy to build all sorts of targeted streams plus you can monitor every interaction with your social media accounts.
You can add keywords to the smart inbox and track keywords that are important to your business.
When you look at twitter in your Smart Inbox you can see all of your mentions, direct messages, retweets, and new followers for twitter. Plus all your interactions for Facebook and Google+ are right there for you to see.
Sprout makes it so easy to follow, reply or assign a task to any interaction. And when you click on the picture of a person who has interacted with you, you can see your interaction history, their Klout score, and all their social details.
The reports suite is really what separates Sprout Social from the competition. The design of the Sprout reports is outstanding. They use a very modern infographic style that makes the reports very easy to grasp and understand very quickly.
You also have the ability to connect your Google Analytic account to Sprout and Sprout does a great job integrating the two. It’s very helpful to see the correlation between website traffic and ups and downs of social activity.
You can see the details of individual posts and the engagement that they garnered. You’ll also get to see the percentage of engaged people for your Facebook posts. Since Facebook’s algorithm makes it tough to get posts seen, sometimes the raw engagement numbers aren’t as valuable as the percentage of engaged people.
Overall Sprout Social is an excellent choice for anyone who is trying to manage multiple social streams. Even a small business can make use of this valuable tool. Sprout takes away the old excuse, “I don’t have time for social media.”
Sprout Social is a standout and has set the bar very high for social media management tools.